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GOP Leaders Want Jeb Bush to Run in 2016 Despite Conservative Doubts

October 1, 2014 - 6:00pm
Leading Republican voices are increasingly calling for former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., to run for the GOPs presidential nomination, but conservatives have their doubts over his stances on immigration reform and Common Core.

Former President George W. Bush appeared on Fox and Friends on Fox News on Thursday morning and said he was encouraging his brother to follow in his and their fathers footsteps.

"I think he wants to be president, the former president said about his brother. I think he'd be a great president. He understands what it's like to be president.

"He's seen his dad, he's seen his brother, he added. He's a very thoughtful man and hes weighing his options."

The former president said he had met his brother earlier this week and encouraged him to enter the 2016 race.

"He, of course, was saying 'I havent made up my mind,' and I truly don't think he has," George W. Bush said about his brother. "I don't think he liked it that his older brother was pushing him."

The former president was not the only big-name Republican to make a national media appearance this week in which he said he hoped the former Florida governor would run. Appearing on ABC News This Week on Sunday, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he hoped Jeb Bush would run for president in 2016.

I think Jeb would be a great candidate, Boehner said. Weve got a lot of good candidates out there.

Boehner also said he has encouraged Bush to run and the former governor hasnt said no. Hes had plenty of opportunities to tell me to stop -- and he hasnt, Boehner said.

But conservatives have their doubts about a third Bush presidency, citing the former Florida governors record on immigration and Common Core. An old family foe called out Bush this past weekend: conservative commentator Pat Buchanan. who offered a surprisingly strong challenge to George H.W. Bush in the 1992 presidential primaries and ran as the Reform Partys presidential candidate against George W. Bush in 2000.

Appearing on the McLaughlin Group last weekend, Buchanan insisted Bush was not a good fit, calling him too moderate for the Republican base which would prefer someone more conservative. Buchanan also said Common Core would hurt Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., if he runs in 2016 while immigration reform would damage U.S. Sen. Marco Rubios, R-Fla., presidential hopes.

Jeb Bush ... he doesnt look like hes got the fire in the belly, Buchanan said. He hasnt run in a dozen years or more.

Buchanan also noted Bush backed both Common Core and immigration reform. Its these two issues that will see him torn apart in very rough primaries and caucuses, Iowa and New Hampshire, Buchanan insisted.

Noting that former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass, has left the door open to running again, Buchanan claimed Romney and Bush had some kind of agreement for 2016.

Romney and Bush have some kind of deal, Buchanan said. If one goes, the other doesnt because they would split up the moderate vote.

Reach Kevin Derby at or follow him on Twitter: @KevinDerbySSN

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